5 Exercises to do at your Desk

*Source: The exercises and videos in this article were drawn from the website of Humanscale, an ergonomic furniture manufacturer.


For many of us, the notion of working at a conventional desk is perceived very negatively, and associated with adopting a sedentary lifestyle that most of us consider highly undesirable. Serious health risks such as heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, a range of cancers, and mental health concerns have now been formally linked to this toxic lifestyle.

This increasingly alarming situation largely explains office workers’ current enthusiasm for height-adjustable desks and other ergonomic accessories, which serve to transform traditional work spaces into active, dynamic environments.

Here are five exercises designed to boost the effectiveness of adopting ergonomic office equipment. They will not only improve your working conditions but will also enhance your overall health, comfort, productivity, and even your long-term revenue potential!

1- Calf exercise

Calf stretches are an excellent way to strengthen your legs. Begin by raising your desk top to a height suitable for standing work. Stand in front of your desk and lift your heels off the ground until you are standing on tiptoe. Focus on holding this position for a maximum of five seconds before lowering yourself back onto your heels.

2- Thigh exercise

The chair position will strengthen your hamstrings and quadriceps. Find a quiet spot away from high-traffic areas. Then, rest your back against the wall, with your feet spread apart at roughly shoulder width. Next, slowly lower yourself by bending your knees until they are bent at 90 degrees. Hold this position for 45-60 seconds.

 sit on wall

3- Upper-body exercise

This is an excellent exercise to activate and relax your trapezius muscles. While seated, lift your shoulders up to your ears, hold this position, then relax. To increase the effectiveness of this exercise, try holding a book, backpack, or other heavy object in your hands!

 4- Abdominal exercise

The plank is a highly-effective exercise for strengthening your abdominal muscles. Begin by setting your adjustable desk to mid-height. Standing with your feet at hip width, place your hands on the front edge of your desk, then step back until your body forms a straight line from shoulders to heels. Hold this position as long as you can (aim for 60 seconds).

Desk Plank Exercise

 5- Full-body exercise

Nothing beats stretching to keep you flexible, strong, and healthy; it’s a quick, simple exercise that can be added to your workplace routine throughout the day. To stretch your lower back muscles, sit at your work station and bring one of your knees toward your stomach. Supporting the underside of your thigh, gently pull your leg towards you, making sure not to lean forward in your chair. Hold this position for a maximum of 30 seconds, then repeat with the other leg.

Impacts on focus and productivity

Exercise is a proven way to significantly boost workplace productivity and overall wellness. Increasing blood flow to the brain serves to rapidly enhance concentration and overall energy levels, thus improving employees’ frame of mind for tackling complicated tasks.

In addition, active people tend to perform better – and incidentally, be better compensated – than their sedentary colleagues. Better yet, numerous studies - including those by Dr. Amnon Gumpel – have confirmed that physical activity can even treat and prevent ADHD symptoms, which have become increasingly prevalent in adults.

So - what are you waiting for? Start moving at work and set up your ergonomic work space. An active “workstyle” can only be beneficial all around!